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Aaj Bazaar Mein: Students and Artists in Dhaka and Kolkata Demonstrate Against ABP’s Yellow Journalism

September 1 | Kolkata: The agitation against moral policing and yellow journalism organised under the hashtag handles #AmioTamoghna and #TrashABP, continued for the second successive day in Kolkata today, as protesters burnt copies of Anandabazar Patrika across the city, including in front of the publication’s office at Chandni Chowk. Today’s action also found solidarity across the border in Shahbag, Dhaka, where demonstrators burnt copies of the newspaper in front of ABP’s Bangladesh office.

Protesters gathered at Jadavpur University this afternoon and carried out the demonstration, setting copies of Anandabazar Patrika on fire, while shouting slogans condemning the profit hungry corporate media houses of the country. Afterwards, the protesters collectively decided to head to ABP’s office at Chandi Chowk and repeat the same demonstration there.

Action followed words. The action attracted a gathering of curious onlookers while the uniformed guards of the media house closed the main gate.

Speaking to Eye, a protestor present during the agitation in front of the ABP Office said, “Only one of them tried to talk to us but all he had to say was ‘Can’t we get in a dialogue? This is not how you protest. We have also participated in marches, demonstration when we were in college.’ We told them, ‘So now you, of all people, will also teach us how to protest at a demonstration which is against, well, you?”

The campaign had erupted on social media against the character assassination of performance artist Tamoghna Haalder on mainstream TV and print media.  The bengali bourgeois intelligentsia and mainstream media attacked Tamoghna Halder surrounding his choice of costume for one of his street performances in solidarity with the movement at FTII labelling his art “obscene” and “indecent”.

In retaliation, on 31st August 2015, students and artists from across the city gathered at Jadavpur University and Ramkrishna Ghaat to release sky lanterns carrying messages against moral policing and yellow journalism.

“The movement will employ two forms of protest. The first is sangharsh (struggle) and the second one is  nirmaan (creation) which will bloom out of that rupture created by struggle. The sangharsh is to create consent amongst the public, to engage them, to disturb them some more. This consent will then lead to a long-term goal of actually creating a space for alternative media that will voice the truth.” said one of the protestors.

Students from Jadavpur University, Viswa Bharati, FTII, Bidhannagar College and a number of independent artists have joined the budding movement.

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